Recently at Betty’s and Other News

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Hi, Peeps! (Because, Easter, right? Sorry.)

I have a few recipes over at Betty Crocker that I wanna share with you, PLUS I was recently on a podcast, so there’s that situation to cringe about.

Pickle Pepper Pork Melts

First, these Slow Cooker Pickled Pepper & Pork Melts (say that 3x fast). They are super easy, so flavorful (pickled pepper juice is the secret) and totally, indulgently, satisfying.

Easy Ham Glazes

Second, 10 (TEN!) dead-easy Ham Glazes just in time for Easter. All 10 are 4 ingredients or less and will add some flavorful pop to your Easter table. My favorites are the Peach Jalapeño, Honey-Sriracha, and Maple, Mustard, & Rosemary.The first 5 recipes are from another blogger, the second 5 are by me, and I took all the photos. So, needless to say it was glaze-city up in here but, bonus! they all work well to glaze other things: salmon, shrimp, chicken, chops, and WINGS.

And, for the podcast. I was invited by the super kind host, Gabriel, of The Dinner Special Podcast to be a guest a bit ago (Casper was only about 6 months old, then!) and it’s live today.  It’s such a good podcast, there have been amazing guests and I love listening to it. So many awesome bloggers and food people with amazing tips and insight, I really feel honored to have been invited on the show. That said, I’m a total weirdo and have no idea what I am saying in it. I talk about being a new mom and how getting dinner on the table is different now and some things I employ to get ahead. I also ramble on about other random things, it’s like half word-vomit and half mom-talk. You guys, I was SO NERVOUS!

Better On Toast: Zingy White Bean Toasts and A Giveaway!

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There are few times when a toasty slice of bread slathered in butter and sea salt does not satisfy. When those rare instances do happen though, there are a billion ways to gussy-up (gussy? who am i?!) a slice of toast that will satisfy any craving–salty, sweet, and in between. My internet friend, Jill, wrote a book all about it! Her new book Better on Toast is out today and it’s like a love letter to all things toast. The book is packed with recipes and ideas for topping toast from snack and appetizer toasts, to meal-worthy toasts, and even some sweet fare as well. There are even toasting techniques, like pan toasted with parmesan.

The book is full of amazing photos and all sorts of delicious toast toppers, even a recipe for a gluten-free-bread for gluten-free toast making–because everyone deserves a good piece of toast! Included in the book is this super-tasty recipe for Zingy White Bean Toasts. It really jumped out at me because I love white beans and loved the idea of them in a garlicky, rosemary infused, tomato sauce on crunchy parmesan toasts. YUM. Plus, I pureed some of the leftover topping for Casper and he LOVED it. Snack for me and snack for my boo. WIN, WIN.

Better on Toast

Speaking of winning, since most of us love toast, Jill and I were thinking maybe you guys would like a chance to win a copy of Better on Toast? If you think you’d like something like that, comment below with what you think Brown: would be better on toast. For a second entry, tweet or tag @theculinistas on twitter or instagram with how you like your toast (be sure to reply to your comment here and let me know). The giveaway will run from March 31st to April 7th and I will message the lucky winner to ship them a copy from the publisher Harper Collins.

For other Better on Toast ideas and chances to win check out these other great blogs:

Feed Me Phoebe: Avocado Toast with Roasted Spring Vegetables and Tahini Sauce

The Yellow Table: 3 Easy Breakfast Toasts

Leanne Brown: Soy Sauce Marinated Tofu

**(Only entries from the US and Canada are eligible).

Print Recipe

Zingy White Bean Toasts

Makes 8-12 appetizer sized toasts.

5 tablespoons olive oil

4 fresh rosemary sprigs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1, 15-ounce, can white beans, rinsed and drained

pinch of salt

1, 15-ounce, can diced tomatoes, drained (or 1 pint halved cherry tomatoes)

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 lemon, halved

4, 1/2 inch thick, slices rustic bread, Parmesan pan toasted (instructions below)

In a skillet over low heat, heat the oil and the rosemary sprigs until the rosemary leaves have fried but not burned, 5-7 minutes. Remove the rosemary and reserve. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the rosemary infused oil in a dish.

Add the white beans and the garlic to the remaining oil in the pan and turn up the heat to medium-high. Sauté for 4-6 minutes or until the garlic has softened. Add a pinch of salt. Add the tomatoes and cook them down, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Squeeze the lemon onto the toasts and top with roughly 2 tablespoons of the bean mixture. Drizzle with the reserved rosemary oil and sprinkle with fried rosemary.

To make the parmesan toasts, spread each slice of bread on both sides with a thin layer of butter. Smash some freshly grated parm onto one side of each toast. Heat a skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot place the bread, parm side down, into the pan, and toast until golden brown. While the first side browns, carefully press some more parm on the top sides of the bread. Flip and repeat.

 

Baby Food: Banana Pancakes

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I mentioned in my New Year’s post that I wanted to be more meaningful with my writing and honestly, I have no idea what I mean by that, I just know I want things to be different around here. I want to shed some of this armor of upbeat nonchalance that I’ve built and it’s proving to be incredibly difficult. It’s comfortable for me to keep things light, and I think this blog will still be a casual, easy place, but I’m going to try to share a little bit more here and there. Baby steps.

I’m going to try to start sharing a little more about Casper in this space. What I’m feeding him, what life has been like, and things like that. Because, really, I’ve been hesitant to mention him too much. For fear that I’ll be deemed a “mommy-blogger”, as if that’s somehow a terrible thing to be. It’s not and I AM a mom and a blogger, and I feel like I should share some of that here. Casper is currently the center of my universe, he sets the rhythm of my days and I am so incredibly thankful that he’s here and he’s mine. I feel silly even writing that because, really, the words just escape me. The road to motherhood was a little rough for me. There were really dark days, a lot of disappointment, crushing fear and doubt. I kept all my feels pretty close–of course Sean had a front row seat to my emotion showdown and a few close friends, too–but, my 28th and 29th years were just a mess of trying to keep my head up while grappling with fertility issues. There were times that I felt totally lost, without purpose, and I really questioned myself. I know that’s a controversial thing to say these days when we are leaning in–that motherhood gave me purpose–but it did and it is honestly what I have always wanted. I may talk about this in more depth sometime–someday when I can gather my thoughts on Casper’s birth and my pregnancy  and everything that led up to it without it being a billion words long. But, in short, it was at once more difficult and more easy than a lot of people have it–and, seriously, I feel so lucky.

Whew, that felt heavy and weird. So, let’s get comfortable and get our carb on, baby style.

Casper has been eating solids for a few months now. He’s crawling around the house like a madman, can climb the stairs, pulls himself up and uses our dining chairs as walkers now. Needless to say, he’s a busy boy and is totally working up an appetite. At first food was mostly an exploratory thing, introducing him to something else besides breast milk and just kind of letting him taste and touch. We’ve done a mix of soft foods he can pick up and purees. We only recently began to introduce some dairy into his diet in the forms of yogurt and cheese, but we still aren’t giving him milk yet. Since dairy and eggs can be a problem for a lot of babies, I made these pancakes free of both. At nearly 8 months old he eats a variety of foods now and pancakes are one of his absolute favorites. He loves to feed himself–he always tries to grab the spoon when I feed him purees–and these pancakes are perfect for little hands and don’t make a huge mess. I usually tear these up into small (pea-sized) pieces, but he handles whole pancakes really well lately. I like to freeze these on a sheet pan and pop them into a freezer bag once frozen. A frozen pancake is perfect for soothing sore gums when teething. He gets a little snack, plus a bit of relief from the teething pain.*

*There are a lot of ways to feed your baby, we did a mash-up of baby led weaning ideas and purees. We also consulted our pediatrician about how and when to introduce Casper to solids–definitely do what works for you and whatever your pediatrician recommends.

Print Recipe

Baby Banana Pancakes

Adapted from Buona Papa

Makes about 30 mini pancakes.

I have made these with just ground oat flour–it makes for a crumblier, denser pancake, but he seems to like them that way just fine. I make the oat flour by grinding regular rolled oats in a food processor until fairly fine. Using just oat flour makes these gluten free. I prefer to make them with a mixture of both oats and wheat flour.

1/2 cup finely ground oats

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup mashed banana (or other fruit puree like apple or pear)

coconut oil for the pan

In a mixing bowl whisk together the oat flour, wheat flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Fold in the coconut milk and mashed banana until just combined. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and coat lightly with coconut oil. Drop tablespoons of batter onto the pan, cooking until bubbles begin to form around the edges of each pancake, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes and flip. Cook on the other side an additional minute or so until each pancake is golden. Remove from the skillet and let the pancakes cool off a bit before feeding your baby. Place the extra pancakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment and freeze for a few hours, until solid, then place in a plastic freezer bag and freeze. I like to use all of the frozen pancakes within a month.